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Florida man, town embroiled in dispute over property zoning

A 72-year-old man is locked in a battle with town officials in Redington Shores, Florida, over zoning on his property.

He said he has owned the 1,200-foot Redington Long Pier since 2000, but it is in dire need of repair. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection told him it was unsafe, so he closed it. But the problem is it will cost $300,000 to tear it down or $400,000 to repair it.

Since he can't afford either option, he wants to sell the structure along the Gulf of Mexico and its parking lot. He's asking $6.5 million for the properties. But unless the town agrees to change the zoning from recreational to commercial, he told a local newspaper it won't ever sell and the situation won't improve.

The owner said he submitted the application to change the zoning; Redington Shores officials said otherwise in another media report. He said he'll submit the paperwork again but is sure the zoning change won't go through. He called it a "scam."

"The bank has it under foreclosure. I have it for sale, but finding a buyer is not the solution. I have many buyers, but I need the zoning change."

The pier and the parking lot sit on pricey waterfront real estate, and the owner said he figures the town will sit idle and wait for the bank to complete the foreclosure so that it can acquire the land for a low price.

"They want to take it for nothing," he said.

The town and its attorney declined to comment to the newspaper.

The man said he and some investors paid $1.5 million for the property – in part as a civic gesture to save the pier -- and when he tried to sell it to the town shortly after, the town didn't want to buy it.

The pier was renovated in 2007, but a decade later, Hurricane Irma did more damage than he could afford to repair.

The man said he has done all he can do to try to work with the town. If he has not already done so, a Florida attorney working with real estate issues could discuss the case with him and lay out his options.

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